Friday, July 23, 2010

Nokia N8

I am not one to worry too much about trends. I tend to define my own trends. I don't buy into the masses just because the masses say to do so. That being said, the iPhone hype is one thing I choose to not take a part of. I don't necessarily dislike Apple, neither am I a hater of Apple, because I'd much rather use their computer hardware than any other manufacturer. However, I don't necessarily buy into their mobile devices, mainly the iPhone. Just not what appeals to me.
I have been following Nokia handsets for a long time. I love their handsets, I love Symbian (call me an idiot, or crazy) but it is a very intuitive mobile operating system. The "aesthetics" aren't pretty like iOS 4 and some Android phones, but it runs like I feel it should.

The Nokia N8, due to release in October, is the most excited I have been over a phone since the last Nokia N-Series device, the N900. The N8's spec sheet is massive. Just to list a few, the N8 includes:
  • 12 MP Carl-Zeiss camera with 720p video recording and Xenon flash
  • 3.5" Capacitive OLED touch-screen
  • HDMI out with Dolby Digital Plus audio
  • Pentaband UMTS radio (in other words, practically worldwide 3G data)
  • ARM 11 680MHz along with dedicated 3D graphics accelerator
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
  • Symbian^3 operating system
Nokia manages to stuff a huge camera sensor (1/1.83″ for those who know) this impressive mobile, along with 720p video capture. Anodized aluminum body gives it a high-quality feel that is resistive to scratches, and a now-standard front-facing camera for video calling.
One aspect I have found to be utterly amazing is the support for a Bluetooth keyboard ... and mouse. I found this on YouTube, and I must say, that add an entirely new aspect for this device. Also, according to the user manual, standard video out is supported with the 3.5mm jack, if an HDMI input is not within grasp. Couple that with the fact that the entire user interface gets exported to the external display, it is hard to imagine this device not being a workhorse for business travelers, whether it be viewing presentations, checking emails on a hotel television, or enjoying a movie in HD. With remote desktop capabilities, this can also be a mobile office access point, complete with the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Now, all this hype, I do have concerns, as a loyal S60 user for the past few years. The GUI is not a work of art, but I love it's functionality. Although my Nokia E71 is now over two years old, it performs very well, even with newer apps geared toward higher-specification mobiles. RAM management works fairly well with the E71, and since the platform is essentially the same for the N8, along with improved RAM and hopefully more efficient management, it should be a great device to multi-task with, even with a small battery by standards set forth by Apple, HTC, and Motorola.
I would love to see a US carrier pick up the N8, however. I feel the pre-order price of $549 is great, but with taxes, it would climb to over $600, and a carrier could lower that for more people to attain. I still think at $600 for a completely unlocked world phone, it is a great deal.
App availability is another cause for concern, although my tastes do not lie a lot with the apps Android and Apple have out. A few games already run on the Qt framework that are popular (Angry Birds, Doodle Jump) and there are utilities like JoikuSpot, PuTTY, and Shazaam are nice to have, and should be available for the N8 out of the box, along with Opera's Mobile 10 browser, which is much nicer than the current browser Nokia has for S^3 (MeeGo's browser will be the winner for mobiles).

I may get a lot more attention with the new N8, if I do indeed purchase it, since it is not an iPhone 4, or any of the 5.000 Android devices out right now, but I bet that there won't be much hype for the non-technically enhanced population, since you won't be seeing N8 commercials during Jersey Shore or Glee, but I don't let that affect my feelings towards a phone I know I want to buy with out adverts harassing me.

The N8 is poised to win - and hopefully in about a month, I will be able to review it in great detail, and hopefully win some followers in the process.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Beef: ESPN

Just read this interesting article concerning ESPN's "The Decision", which was a pure travesty concerning sports. I've been disgusted with the LeBron way ever since he said (and I paraphrase), "If I wanted, I could score every point." Now, he is under some of the heaviest scrutiny of his young career over his behind-the-back way of signing with the Miami Heat.

Can I blame the guy? Hardly, since we, as a society, have gone down the road of 24 hour coverage of everything from the Gulf Oil Spill to Lindsey Lohan's prison trip. I can say that mass media is not about newspapers and magazines anymore - they go out of date too fast in today's world. The world wide web has taken media to new heights, which is a shame for some mainstays in the printing press world - local Sunday papers hardly get late sports scores in, much less the latest word from Paris Hilton, Paris France, or the French Open.

That being said, I have to express my shame in ESPN these past several years. It's getting to the point, just like with the news outlets like CNN, Fox News, and CNBC, no one ever reports the news, there is always needless speculation, argument, and commentary from people who are deemed "qualified journalists". I feel like for every two stories ESPN "breaks", they bring in two "insiders", as if they really know anymore than the writer at the Associated Press who actually wrote the story that is regurgitated by ESPN. Don't get me wrong, I love to hear opinion and take part in commentary as much as any avid sports fan in the world, but when I turn on my television to the "Worldwide Leader in Sports", give me my sporting news, unabridged, the highlights to all the games, and move on. Often they spend an entire segment on one of the following topics:

1) Brett Favre
2) LeBron James
3) Boston/New York/Los Angeles sports
4) The NFL

The fact they begin their NFL Mock Draft special DURING the NCAA Tournament is ridiculous - the fact they don't air the tournament is no reason not to cover it 90% of the time. I love the NFL, but I want my basketball front and centre when its March/April.

Then comes LeBron James. When I found out that he asked ESPN for a full hour to make his decision was absurd, and I am not the only one. The commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, even said "this decision was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed." He has become the black sheep of the NBA for the antics he has displayed - Kobe looks like a saint now, and he is the one building a legacy for himself with five championships now, and it looks as if LeBron is just building a posse for himself.

But, my real beef is still with ESPN. The fact that their own "in-house referee on journalistic matters" called the programme a "failure". I have no doubt it drew ratings ESPN benefited from, but their image as a legitimate news outlet has been tossed out of the window. The whole idea from the LeBron regime was to gain more publicity, get his name out there even more than before, but I fear their decision backfired, because of the newly found hate for James. ESPN could have said, "we are not putting together the staff and production for a television programme, but we will allow you to hold a press conference that we have exclusivity to" or something along those lines. The fact ESPN took this as an opportunity for themselves without foreseeing the effects it would have against both parties involved was selfish, short-sighted, and ill-advised. LeBron may claim himself to be a king, but to allow him to dictate a multi-billion dollar network is rubbish.

I still tune to ESPN nearly every morning, because I want to see scores, highlights, and breaking news before I leave for my job - but writers are always trying to be front and centre with their content, regardless of their bias, which is my main beef with the four-letter.